In the late 19th century, Spanish rule of Cuba was on the minds of many Americans.
The threat of war with Spain in 1873 over the execution of American sailors as pirates, and the reports of atrocities in sensationalist newspaper articles by Joesph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst had turned many Americans against the Spanish. Although US President William McKinley and many American businessmen who traded with Cuba desired a peaceful outcome, the mysterious sinking of the battleship USS Maine in Havana harbor (which was sent to Cuba to protect US interests and civilians during the Cuban revolution) turned Congress and the American people strongly against the Spanish.
In late April, Congress passed a resolution stating the US would help Cuba obtain independence from Spain, and would not attempt to interfere once the Spanish were gone. The Spanish broke of diplomatic relations on April 21, after receiving this ultimatum, and the US began a blockade of Cuba the very same day. By April 25 both countries had declared war on each other.
After four months of conflict, the Spanish Empire was almost totally devastated, and marked the entry of the United States into world affairs.
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